Google Nexus 4 vs. Sony Xperia Z: Which Offers the Better Deal between the Near-Identical Android Smartphones?

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By Erik Pineda | January 24, 2013 2:46 PM EST

It took Sony some serious beatings from its South Korean rivals before it realised that the pack of current tech leaders is way, way up, tech analysts observed. But with the upcoming market debut of the Xperia Z, the once dominant Japanese firm is sending a clear notice: The giant has awakened.

In unveiling its new flagship smartphone, Sony stressed that it is all ready for pitched battle with the leaders. The consumer electronic firm wants to reclaim its throne from Apple and Samsung. The former obliterated Sony's music player icon Walkman while the latter snatched away its television throne.

And Sony is on a warpath, starting off its recovery campaign through the impressive specs deployed with the Xperia Z. Yet for now, we'll have a look on how this gadget will fare against the popular result of the collaboration between Google and LG - the Nexus 4.

Hardware scuffle

Sony made its name producing high-end TVs and it endeavours to extend the same expertise to its smartphone. For Xperia Z, the company generously provided a 5-inch screen that comes with 1080p rendering paired with the famed Bravia Mobile Engine 2, powering up the phone's pixel density of 441ppi.

Media consumption on the Xperia Z promises to be a delightful experience, Sony said, its claims backed by rich contents collected in the past few decades.

But more than a multimedia device, the dust and water proofed Xperia Z, by all means, delivers as a top-notch smartphone, Sony vowed, with its 1.5GHz quad-core processor, Adreno 320 GPU and 2GB of RAM all conspiring to afford for a zippy mobile phone experience.

The handset also offers all connectivity options by today's standards, including access to LTE networks, making it a complete communication tool whether users are connecting via data or voice channels.

The camera that came with the Xperia Z, with 13.1MP sensor at the rear and 2.2MP at front, is capable of producing 1080p clips. The device was also engineered to capture top quality images, largely on the account of the HDR technology. Sony is raising the bar earlier set by Apple and Nokia.

Nexus 4, on the other hand, is matching the muscles published by Sony so far. The two gadgets, in fact, share the exact processing, GPU and RAM characteristics, suggesting that the comparison makes for an interesting and intense battle.

As a full-packaged device, Nexus 4 measures up - its 4.7-inch screen also able to accommodate HD viewing. As a stand-alone communication gadget, Nexus 4 also fits the real deal having almost all the provisions for total connectivity, lacking only a full-pledged LTE capability (though it has the chip).

But as a camera phone, Nexus 4 falls a bit when compared to the cam testosterone provided with the Xperia Z. Its 8MP rear and 1.3MP front shooters are on the lower settings but the main sensor is able to record 1080p videos, which can be stored in great numbers on the device's maximum 16GB of internal memory.

The Xperia Z has the same capacity but Sony allowed for up to 32GB of microSD expansion, which is absent on the Nexus 4, serving as one of the few gripes against the signature Google handset.

Platform and pricing tussle

These are two Android handsets but veterans on the platform would easily give some edge to Nexus 4. As host to native Android versions, the smartphone, or users of the device, can explore the Google ecosystem with little limitations. The optimal Android experience that is packed with Nexus 4 more than compensates for its multimedia library shortfalls when pitted with the Xperia Z.

The Xperia Z, Sony said, will be unboxed bearing the JellyBean 4.1 while Nexus 4 is already a step higher at 4.2, which means more stability and rich features courtesy of the in-house Google offerings.

Sony indicated that the Xperia Z will soon chew in the higher JellyBean flavour though it could be that before that happens Nexus 4 would have retired 4.2 and moved on to Key Lime Pie, which Google is set to rollout by second half of 2013.

On the price front, it is assumed that Sony's smartphone will be retailed not lower than $US500, making it part of the top-class gizmos that count the iPhone 5 and Galaxy S3 as leading members.

Google sells Nexus 4 for $US399 but to date, it remains out of stock. It can be had on alternative outlets but the price ticks up, reaching as high as $500 plus.

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